Looking toward this upcoming show weekend, it's quite clear that spring really is nearly on top of us. Headlining the news in Wellington will be Mary Ross's Challenge of the America's and another top class show at the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge II. Dressage shows are popping up across the country as riders and horses emerge from the winter and gear up to compete. The number of shows scheduled for this upcoming weekend is too many to list. Shows will be held in Florida, California, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky and New Mexico. DressageDaily will be getting results and reports for the Dressage Affaire a big CDI in California. For a list of them all, as well as contact information and directions if you want to watch, check out the U.S. Equestrian Federation show calendar for the week at http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/competitions/calendar/calendar.aspx.
The recession has hit state and local governments just as hard as it has individuals. And so, it's rather surprising to find news of a city forking out a huge chunk of money to purchase an equestrian facility. But, that's what Murrieta, California has done. Murrieta is located in Southern California between San Diego and Los Angeles in horse country. Last October, the city bought the Stud Ranch and the first equine events are scheduled to be held there this summer. A city advisory commission will help oversee operations and the facility should be fully operational by this fall. The $2.3 million facility includes four houses, a large outdoor arena, two dressage rings, barns, paddocks and trails. Murrieta, like many cities, is operating on a rather tight budget. So, it's hoping equestrians will make wide use of the facility – and pay to do so. Read more at http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/murrieta/97546cc2-5eea-5e39-95e9-7eec3f8c900c.html.
Obviously, the main news from the past week was the unfortunate accident of Olympic dressage rider Courtney King-Dye. Courtney was injured on Wednesday, March 3 when she was trying out a young horse at the farm where she is based during the Florida season. The horse tripped on itself and went down, landing on top of Courtney and causing her head to hit the ground. Courtney was flown by helicopter to St. Mary's Hospital in North Palm Beach, Florida with a severe head injury. As of this writing, she remains in a coma and there is little that anyone can do, but wait, and pray. The outpouring of concern, prayers and hope has resonated throughout the Dressage world for the talented and beautiful rider poised for greatness.
Courtney's accident, however, has clearly highlighted the importance of wearing a helmet when riding. Granted, riders have suffered brain injury even when wearing a helmet, but the injury is most always less severe than without a helmet. Courtney was to have competed at this past weekend's Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI in Loxahatchee, Florida and the impact of her accident on other riders was evident. The number of riders wearing helmets in the warm-up rings was astounding and some even opted to wear helmets rather than top hats in competition. Most notable among them was Canadian Jacquie Brooks who rode both her Grand Prix tests with a helmet rather than a top hat. Brooks served as a great role model for all those others who perhaps have wanted to ride their FEI tests in a helmet but feared being called a wimp. Anyone who knows Jacquie knows that she's no wimp. It takes guts to start a new trend.
And in international show news, one person who will be missing from this year's Dressage World Cup is nine-time World Cup champion Anky van Grunsven. At last weekend's qualifier in Goteborg, Sweden, Anky was beaten out for a World Cup spot by Imke Schellekens riding Jerich Parzival. Fellow Dutch rider Edward Gal will also be at the World Cup, scheduled to be held in S-Hertogenbosh, the Netherlands at the end of March. Edward will be riding his top partner Moorlands Totillas.